Solar plane took off on 35,000km flight – watch live

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Single seater aircraft with 17,000 solar panel cells
(Newsdesk) At 07:12 local time (03:12 GMT) today, the solar powered plane, Solar Impulse 2, took off from Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), heading towards Muscat Oman, to start a journey of 35,500km around the Northern Hemisphere. This first leg of 400 km will take an estimated 12 hours.

The solar plane is the brainchild Swiss Andre Borschberg and Bertrand Piccard. Borschberg was at the controls of the single seater aircraft with 17,000 solar panel cells. He will share duties with Piccard.

The pilots will stay alert at the controls most of the time and are allowed only 20 minute power naps, the same as single-handed around the world sailers. The cockpit measures 3.8 cubic meters and the seat doubles up as a toilet. Sometimes they will be in the air for 5-6 days.

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